Birds do it


Image                                                                     Not that sort of Blackbird, Ed

You know those vehicles whose engines leap at the touch of an accelerator? Well, in this part of the world, Spring sprang out at us on Sixth April. By Tenth, cherry blossom had done its work and last week, the grass had the bounce of a recently sprung trampoline – adult size.

Listening to avian conversation has been a delicious splooosh, refreshing memory of the busyness of this time of year: students throwing all-nighters in wild and frantic revision, corporate budgets finalized for next year and clothes pulled from winter wrappings and shaken back into life by a promisingly warm breeze. Yet, it’s the banter of birds that concerns us.

Watching Blackbirds converse is almost eves-dropping. Their bold chirrup ends with a full-stop at which they hold themselves statuesquely still. They’re listening for the response. Once you too have tuned in and found that cheerful song, it’s euphorically simple to follow the dialogue.

Chatterboxes? I wouldn’t be able to get a word in. And that’s it, seems to me. Birds aren’t singing: they’re talking. Anthropomorphizing with abandon, you really hear nest-building progress, shopping lists, diary co-ordination, family updates and choice of supper. Occasionally, they appear to make jokes. It’s stunning.

It seems endlessly reassuring that Listening is important in all worlds, not merely mammalian.